Widening gap over the top GCSE grades.
But as nervous teenagers opened their envelopes, overall figures showed pass rates in Wales have actually increased in line with the UK average.
First Minister Carwyn Jones praised pupils for returning the country's record GCSE and Welsh Baccalaureate results.
In total, 98.7% passed the exams with grades A*-G, a slight rise of 0.2% from 2009. The percentage of pupils achieving A*-C grades was 66.4% in Wales, compared to 69.1% across the whole of the UK.
Derec Stockley, director of examinations and assessment for the examination board WJEC, said the results were encouraging.
"The overall differences between grades in Wales and England appear to be largely a consequence of the larger independent sector in England - initial analysis of the results obtained in the state sector alone show negligible differences."
He admitted the widening gap in highest achievers was a concern, but said Wales' year-on-year improvement was positive.
FULL REPORT - PAGES 4&5
Students celebrate their results
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|Title Annotation:||News; Front Page|
|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Aug 25, 2010|
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